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Our Response

The YES Campaign is a civil society response to the enormous global challenge of youth unemployment. The Campaign was formally launched at the first Youth Employment Summit in September 2002, in Alexandria, Egypt. Co-chaired by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, this first Summit was attended by over 1600 delegates from 120 countries. Since then, there have been four  additional Summits – Mexico 2004, Kenya 2006, Azerbaijan 2008 and Sweden 2010 each attended by about two thousands of delegates from around the world.In the eight years since its launch, the YES Campaign has overseen the formation of youth-led networks in over 50 countries. These networks liaise with stakeholder groups (government, business, academics, NGOs, and UN agencies) to develop programs and policies for promoting youth employment. Through the networks, the YES Campaign plans, implements, and evaluates projects around the globe, keeping youth at the center of its efforts.

The YES Campaign:

  • Views youth as true partners in development, rather than as beneficiaries;
  • Encourages youth to organize multi-stakeholder, country networks;
  • Builds the commitment of world leaders and institutions to confront the challenge of youth unemployment by developing strategic partnerships;
  • Transforms that leadership commitment into tangible investments in innovative, employment-generation strategies;
  • Maintains a web-based, Global Knowledge Resource – a free platform that disseminates labor market knowledge and best practices for individuals, networks, and partners through a range of traditional and new-media technologies (print, conferences, e-groups, CD ROM, and video); and
  • Provides youth with opportunities to build leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills in the context of sustainable development.

By enlisting youth participation in creating viable employment alternatives in their home countries, the YES Campaign has validated the concept that young people, if given access to the right resources, can effectively craft their own opportunities for advancement and growth in labor markets while simultaneously addressing development needs.

Listed below is a partial list of accomplishments of the YES Campaign through September 2006.

Infrastructure and Capacity Building

The YES Campaign has:

Hosted the world’s first three Global Youth Employment Summits: Alexandria, Egypt in 2002 (participation of 100 government ministries and 2,000 civil society organizations); Veracruz, Mexico in 2004 (1,500 delegates including senior government ministers); and Nairobi, Kenya 2006 (2000 delegates including Ministers and senior government officials);

Established over 80 youth-led country networks since 2002 to promote policy, programs, and activities, including 7 networks in conflict zones;

Appointed 6 regional coordinators including a global manager to oversee network activities and communicate “best practices” when identifying and mobilizing resources;

Organized 65 national consultations to bring networks together with diverse stakeholders (government, private sector, NGOs, and educational institutions);>

Hosted the first Asian Regional Forum for Youth Employment in Hyderabad, India, in 2003 with 48 countries represented and 1,000 delegates.

Programs and Employment Creation

The YES Campaign has:

Overseen 400 locally initiated and managed programs throughout its network, 150 of which were launched since 2004 and are focused primarily on the five development sectors targeted by the Campaign;

Focused 60 percent of programs on education and capacity-building, 30 percent on employment creation, and 10 percent on policy-making and awareness-building;

Begun the process of launching the YES Academy, the first international institution for youth employment project development based in Hyderabad, India;

Developed a global database of effective youth employment resources and toolkits.

Partners and Funders

The YES Campaign has:

Formalized pro-youth government policies in 60 percent of existing networks;

Established high-level partnerships with UN agencies in 30 countries and with 25 major international organizations (including the World Bank, EC, GEF, OECD, IADB, OAS, USAID, SIDA, SDC, ILO);

Secured support from large private sector corporations including Levi-Strauss and Microsoft, as well as from international donor agencies including Swiss Development Corporation;

Leveraged an average of $5 million per continent to support network activities and over $2.5 million from the Government of India alone.

The YES Campaign works on behalf of millions of young people in the world who are clamoring for a better future and an opportunity for productive work. Young people are cognizant of the inequities of the global system, and are susceptible to association with the negative forces in their communities if help does not come their way. This initiative offers youth a chance to participate in a global campaign to make a difference in their countries and communities.

The YES Inc. became an independent non-profit – January 1, 2007.